Expectations. In our everyday lives we have countless expectations and outcomes. For instance, when we wake up and the sun is shining through the window, we can expect that the day will be pleasant. But when we go outside the temperature is twenty degrees below what we expected or it could be thirty degrees above. The expectation is not what reality actually holds.
In today’s passages, we have to reset our expectations. Today’s passages are from the book of Jonah and Matthew chapter 11. The book of Jonah has been referenced to and recounted many times throughout history since the book was written. To recap, Jonah is given an assignment from God to go to Nineveh, and tell the people that they have not done what God wanted them to do. Jonah does not want to go to Nineveh so he decides to run away. Upon running away, he finds himself on a ship, which comes into the middle of a storm. The storm stops when Jonah is thrown into the ocean. When Jonah is thrown into the ocean, he has been swallowed by a big fish (a whale). After three days, he is brought back to land, and he goes to the city. He tells the people what they need to do to change. The people actually listen to the prophet and change your ways. Jonah is mad that the people listen to him.
Jonah expected to run away from his assignment
- Jonah, like many of us, will be given a task on assignment that seems insurmountable or difficult. We first try to run away from our obligations. We think that it will be easier to run away from the situation. The act of running away, we believe that we do not have to face the outcomes or the consequences of the actions. We want the easy way out. We want to get away from the fire because it’s too hot. We want to run away from the cold, because we don’t want to get frostbitten. We want to run away from the darkness, because we are afraid of what may be in the abyss.
Jonah expected to be killed in the ocean to get out of the assignment
- When we are presented with a challenge that we are not ready or prepared for, we attempt to take actions into our own hands. We try to create different things without asking God for clarification or reference. Sometimes we expect that the situation can’t get worse and we can ease our pain by going into a different direction.
Jonah expected the people to protest and kill him for delivering the message
- In the last part of Jonah, we find that God has already prepared everything for Jonah to be successful. We find that the people of Nineveh were not going to kill him, but were ready for a change in which God had made ready for them. Jonah wanted the people in the world to be punished, killed, or annihilated because of their disregard for God‘s law and his statutes. This is a point in where the expectations have been changed: God changed his heart when the people changed their hearts to him. God changed from punishment to preservation of the people. At this change, Jonah was upset that God is living and living Father and can change to save his children.
In Matthew, Christ is telling the people to reset their expectations of their thoughts and perceptions of John the Baptist and of himself. The people and the persons that Jesus and John the Baptist, actually were, were contrary to the expectations. People were wrapped up in the assumed appearance and perception of the anointed individuals. But Christ tells them to allow God to speak to their hearts and open their minds and eyes to the truth that God has set for us.
How can we reset our expectations to be aligned with God? How can we open up our relationship with him to be adequately prepared for what assignments we are given? How can we allow God to manage our expectations of ourselves, others, and God?